Saturday, January 14, 2012

Student or Teacher?

A while back, a young woman in our congregation brought me a journal and explained that she was asking women in our church to write in it for her. She was hoping to gather bits of advice, encouragement and/or words of wisdom from those that had gone before her into this crazy world of womanhood.  Pretty smart of her, yeah? I thought so, too....what I couldn't figure out was why she was asking ME. 

I was a little taken back by the request and unsure of how to respond, so I laughed nervously and said, "Yeah, I'll take it, but if it's wisdom you're after you should ask....".  I didn't open it until I got home and only then did I realize just how little I had to offer.  There was great advice from Godly women already filling the pages and I only felt less adequate for the task at hand, so I avoided it.  I put it on my headboard and put it off until the ever-elusive "later". 

I am pretty sure I had that thing for months, all the while wrestling with the idea of it.  It wasn't so much that I couldn't come up with something to say, I just wasn't really sure that I should have been asked.  She was looking to those she deemed to be wise women, and I just didn't measure up. She had pages upon pages of advice from amazing women that had travelled much farther down this road than I.  Mothers and grandmothers, pastor's wives and missionaries, Titus 2 women and long time lovers of Christ.  What could I say that would be even remotely relevant or worthwhile compared to what these women had already shared?

You see, I was not much older than her when I decided that the plan God had for my life wasn't working out quite like I'd hoped and I could handle this life on my own.  I got pregnant with my oldest son, Max, that year. I was 17.  How could any advice I give to this girl be anything but hypocritical considering the choices I made at her age?  How could I encourage her to stay the course and follow Christ when I myself had been too weak to do so? I struggled with that one.  I cried out to God these same questions and for a while no answer came. 

And when the answer finally did come, it was one that surprised me.  God hadn't laid it on her heart to ask me because I had lived my life perfectly and made all the right choices, it was because I hadn't.  I wasn't being asked to measure up to the advice of other women or claim to have it all together.  I simply needed to share with her the Truth of my testimony and the words I wished someone would have shared with me at her age, had I been mature enough to ask. 

My life is a beautiful picture of God's grace.  He has redeemed me and made it more beautiful and blessed than I ever thought possible.  I am so thankful He decided that the tattered pieces of my life were worth His breath of life and that I have been made new.  I bet your redemption story is just as beautiful.  Whether you made it through life always walking the golden path, or like me have arrived to this day with a few more scars, you are loved & cherished just the same. 

Thank you, T, for asking to hear my "words of wisdom".  God has used you to stretch and grow me, to test my limits and increase my understanding of His love & mercy.  I am forever grateful ~A. Dancer

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